NEWS RELEASES 2012-13 :: FEBRUARY 1, 2013


North Carolina Virtual Public School (NCVPS) English teacher Jennifer (Jen) Currin is one of three finalists for the 2013 National Online Teacher of the Year Award. The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) and the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) sponsor the award, which recognizes exceptional quality in online K-12 education.

State Superintendent June Atkinson commended Currin on being named a finalist saying that her instructional style helps students who have struggled academically achieve success. "Jen modifies her instruction to meet the specific learning needs of each student. As a result, students realize their academic potential and gain confidence when they see that they can be just as successful as their peers."

North Carolina Virtual Public School Executive Director Tracy Weeks is thrilled to have one of the program's teachers as a national finalist for National Online Teacher of the Year for the third consecutive year. "A core focus at NCVPS is to provide students across North Carolina, regardless of zip code, with high quality teachers," Weeks said. "We strive to find the best teachers in the field and to provide them with the training and support they need to help each student. Jen is a model teacher and coach. We are lucky to have her on our staff."

Currin, who is from Wilmington, has worked as an online English teacher at NCVPS for three years and has been a teacher since 2003. She differentiates instruction to help special-needs students complete the same curriculum as regular-education students. In credit recovery classes, she works with students who have never known success in certain courses. "They come to me discouraged and unsure," Currin said. "It is in the online classroom that I am able to give these students and their families the one-on-one attention and help they need."

This year's judging committee evaluated 49 nominations of online educators in public schools and state virtual schools from 19 states. The other finalists are from California and Florida. All three finalists will be honored and the winner announced at a March 7 awards dinner during the SREB Education Technology Cooperative's Symposium on Virtual Teaching and Learning in Atlanta, Ga. The winner will receive a custom crystal "Flame of Excellence" sculpture.

This is the third year in a row North Carolina has had a finalist for National Online Teacher of the Year. Last year's finalist, Leslie Fetzer, was named the 2012 National Online Teacher of the Year. Fetzer, who is from Holly Springs, is a credit recovery teacher and an instructional leader for the OCS Blended Learning Program. Emily Parrish, an online mathematics teacher from Advance, was a finalist for the prestigious award in 2011.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.